Twitter and the new 280 character allowance

There’s nothing more annoying than when you’re trying to write a tweet and run out of space, right?

Recently, Twitter announced that it had been testing and thinking about the possibility of doubling the usual 140 character limit, giving users a total of 280 characters to write their tweets.

Like most Twitter changes, this news had a controversial, ‘marmite’ response – people either loved it or hated it.

My personal opinion is that it’s a positive thing as I can now add more information in to a tweet, using correct English – no more Twerminology, slang words or abbreviations!

Though, this is of course changing the social network’s defining feature.

Where did the number 140 come from anyway?

The original justification for the limit was that the posts needed to fit into an SMS message, but this is no longer the case. Twitter said it made the decision for 280 characters to stop people getting frustrated when cramming their tweets into a small space.

Why did Twitter decide to make this new change?

Twitter added the extra space so that people can “easily express themselves” wherever they are. They decided to change the limit after looking at the way people tweet in different languages – if tweeting with symbols, tweets can be posted more easily.

Fact – 9% of tweets in English run right up to the 140 character limit, compared to 0.4% of tweets in Japanese.

Twitter product manager Aliza Rosen said they knew that doubling the character count would more than likely generate controversy, but she was confident it would eventually be embraced.

Fact – currently the Twitter account with the most followers is Katy Perry with 106,382,080.

Brief timeline of events and the future of Twitter

March 2006

Twitter was created by Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Biz Stone and Evan Williams.

July 2006

Twitter was launched.

January 2016

There were talks of allowing people to have 10,000 characters in a tweet. The reaction from users and celebrities was so strongly negative, Twitter did not implement this.

May 2016

Twitter announced that media such as photos and videos, and the person’s handle, would not count in the 140 character limit. A user photo post used to count for around 24 characters. Attachments and links would also no longer be part of the 140 character limit.

September 2017

Twitter announced it was testing 280 character limit tweets.

November 2017

Twitter confirmed that the limit would be doubled for everyone, but not in the Japanese, Korean and Chinese languages.


Read all about Tweet updates on Twitter Developer, if you want to keep up to date.

What do you think about this change to Twitter? Has it had a big impact on how you use it and is it positive or negative? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Make sure to follow us on Twitter!

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